UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

July 31, 2008

Well Blow Me Down.

Filed under: knit — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 8:29 am

There is a problem with pay-for patterns. What if the pattern is completely non- user-friendly? The Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern for the BSJ is horrible to actually use. Someone put together a line-by-line stitch count, but that does not help sufficiently for weird problems like where to put the stitch markers in the beginning.

The pattern says that stripes can be added anywhere, but there is no indication of how they will look. Lots of people have made this, but most of them only show photos of one side so if there are caveats, it is knitter beware. Certainly the Ravelry projects claiming that 3 balls of Swish worsted were enough are looking wrong. I am going to run short of my main color as it stands.

I would not want to be making money from someone else’s work, I get that, but I am extremely glad I did not pay for this pattern. (I borrowed the book from the library.) I will probably write up my findings so if I ever make this again, I will not suffer quite so much. I cannot share those with the public of course. What needs doing is really easy, once I understand what she meant. The text descriptions in EZ’s work spend 20% of the time saying, “Trust me!” and it is only a couple hundred words. There is weirdness like where it says at ___ stitches, bind off 5 stitches, at ___+6 stitches, work only the center __ stitches. But I did not see how dropping 5×2 stitches would get me an increase. Nor did I understand how to work only the center stitches from what was in the text.

It almost seems deliberately opaque, more like a conversation with an expert knitter than a pattern. Considering how completely simple this is to do, that is criminal. I could not have progressed this far without the outside help I found. If an intermediate level knitter (I have done cables and lace and created patterns.) cannot decipher a pattern without outside help, it is not really a pattern.

I find myself admiring the result and the creativity that went into it, but thinking there are a lot of people cursing Elizabeth Zimmerman’s pattern. Thousands of people have wasted their time deciphering this mess individually because this is a pay-for pattern. Knowing that I suffered for no good reason means my cursing was so blue as to shade into the ultra-violet.

sweater 70% complete

July 24, 2008

A sort of random status report for fibery things.

Filed under: knit — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 2:51 pm

There has been no spinning. I found some corriedale (bleah) calling my name and it has an adoptive mother awaiting its arrival. But that was not enough to get me to exhume my wheel and find where I stashed the bobbins during the construction here.

There has been progress on the sweater. I unknit back several rows and successfully (!) threaded the stitches onto the needle again. I was off by two. No Earthly clue what happened to them, but I fixed it up and the mistakes are not obvious (unlike previous fixes which made things look much worse than the mistake— that is how I ended up unknitting so many rows.)

It feels like I have been hugely busy and there has been no time for knitting or spinning, but there are no concrete reasons for that sense.

I ordered a ball winder and the Cat Bordhi sock book and some “Evil Stepmother” colorway yarn from Knitpicks. The yarn is incredibly garish and I just adore it. The ball winder says it was made in Japan. (This is where the cheering starts. I found something that is not made in China!)

I will report on the book later when I have looked at it. It is not like anything could be worse than the Spin Off magazines and a year of those cost more than this Bordhi book.

I saw some really adorable mittens (by Jared Flood (brooklyntweed)) which are going to be in the Fall 2008 Vogue Knitting. I am not sure if that is enough to get me to buy a copy of the magazine. My past experience with Vogue Knitting suggests that nothing will fit me. But they are really adorable adult-size mittens.

July 18, 2008

Take Me to… Lambtown

Filed under: spin — UndyedYarnpire @ 7:53 pm

There was the obvious allusion (well, obvious for anyone my age at least) to the song “Funkytown”, and I heroically tried to resist.

There is a moderate sized fiber festival tomorrow, Dixon Lambtown. Admission is free, they mention free parking, and even with gas prices closer to $5/gallon, it is not unfeasible that I could go. (Northern California, near Sacramento.)

There will be food vendors. There are classes (which are probably full already, and even if I had known in advance, they want you to send them a check and a SASE to get your tickets… “In Dixon, we welcome you to the 1940s.”) There are fiber vendors. There are sheep shearing demonstrations. There is a fleece market.

All these things are in theory since I have never been, but they are advertised and previous years’ Lambtowns have photographs.

My husband has zero interest in going. He is not a fiber-head.

There are two main sticking points. The first is that I am really bad about spending money. Not in the standard way, I mean that it is extremely rare that I buy stuff. Several knitting blogs I read have talked about frugality and stash busting and promising not to buy things until the cows come home or whatever. I have no problem with that. That is my standard state. I have a lot of wool and yarn in my stash, so why would I want to go somewhere relatively far away so I can buy more? The food is going to be expensive, so I might try to cheap out on that too. In summary, I probably will not buy wool. I probably will not buy food. I am too late to sign up for classes. It seems rather pointless to go if I go alone because I will talk myself out of everything. I might as well talk myself out of driving to Dixon and count the experience as money saved.

I do not have nearby fiber friends, not really. I emailed someone I know through knitting recently and was unable to start a conversation. Plus there is the concern that everyone is pushing themselves toward short-term frugality (I am much more along the lines of The Frugal Gourmet, where the idea is to never waste anything.) so I would not be able to find someone who could be the devil on my shoulder encouraging me to buy things.

The second main sticking point has been my overall disappointment with fiber events I have attended. I went to the TNGA show in Oakland (November 2007) and I went to Stitches West in 2008. I found some things in both places. I had a tolerable time, but it was a lot more like going to Sears than I had expected. With the $8 cover charge, it ended up feeling like going to a nightclub that promises live music but has a tinny jukebox stocked with country music B-sides.

Lambtown gates open in about 12 hours. That is not a lot of time for screaming into the ether to net results. But if you think I should give it a chance, leave a comment or email the obvious username [one word, starts with u, ends with e] at gmail.com

July 17, 2008

The Bells of St. Jumping the plank

Filed under: knit — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 12:06 am

Well. I would say I am a bad blogger and offer myself for limp noodle flogging, but mostly the problem is that I have not been doing anything interesting. Navel gazing ahoy.

I am knitting away on the rumpled placemat which Elizabeth Zimmermann promises will origami itself into a cardigan style sweater. There are still yarn issues, wherein I am convinced I will fall short. I also had to rip back a double-handful of rows because I missed a step. I am not very good at picking up stitches and have the standard geek problem of being “off by one” no matter what I do. Normally I would fudge it or make it work out, but in this case, I actually ripped back an additional row to get solid stitches again.

There is still the embarrassment factor of making baby clothes and thereby endorsing immoral behavior. If you want to get a read on how I feel talking about this, drop the “S” in the abbreviation and talk about it loudly in your place of public worship.

I have not spun anything since May. This was not entirely by choice, there was construction here and it has been hot. We live in an un-airconditioned space and there is no way I am going to treadle when it is already over 90F inside. There have been cooler days, but seemingly never when I am free of other obligations.

I have picked up some other interests again, unlike many people though, I do not sew. The machines scare me. It is loud and I might sew my finger. But I have been writing movie reviews again. Generally I write them so I can keep track of what I have seen and what I thought about it. There is an important component where I interact with the world through writing my opinions. That means I stop being the only person who has seen something, and start to be a “trend-setter” or “trail-blazer”. I am the one who tries out the weird things and it might encourage other people to watch them.

That was how I approached knitting in the beginning. I did not know anyone else who knit. The more I did it and the more I learned, the more people I could talk to and the more people I inspired. I was the beginner doing cables and saying it was not very hard, it just required a lot of attention. I was the beginner saying, lacework was fun and look how far the yarn goes. I was the one saying, of course I can do that. It stopped being fun when I stopped knitting new things. It was just another hat or just another scarf or just another whatever. There just is nothing to say about that and I started to stay home from knitting groups which meant I never got inspired to try anything new and I was not inspirational to anyone.

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